Puckett’s Pond presents our Top 10 Minnesota Twins prospects. At #6 is Kohl Stewart.
Previous stories on Puckett’s Pond Top 10 Prospects:
For the second straight year, Kohl Stewart ranks in our top 10 Minnesota Twins prospects list, this year at No. 7.
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The Twins drafted Stewart fourth overall in 2013 out of high school. At the time, he was also a four-star recruit of his beloved Texas A&M Aggies.
Despite being the alma mater of both his parents and even his siblings. a $4.5 million signing bonus lured him away from football to sign with the Twins.
Now 22-years-old, he will enter his fifth season of professional baseball. In draft that featured Kris Bryant, drafted second overall by the Chicago Cubs, Stewart hasn’t made the same impact to the Twins franchise.
With more seasoning in the minors, Stewart could soon change that.
#6 – Kohl Stewart
Name: Kohl Stewart
Position: SP Age: 22
Height: 6’3” Weight: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 4th overall in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft
Last year in our review of Stewart, his decreasing strikeout rate and increasing walk rate raised questions as to whether he could perform well as he moved to the higher levels. The question was whether he could reverse the trend.
Last season, Stewart was not able to buck the trend. His SO/9 was up from 2015 (4.9 in 2015 to 5.7 in 2016). However, his BB/9 was also up from last year (3.1 in 2015 to 3.9 in 2016).
In general, these rates are headed in what most would consider the wrong direction. Despite this, he shows signs of becoming a good pitcher.
Stewart continued to keep the ball on the ground. Last season, 53% of his outs came on the ground. The season before his ground ball rate was 58. In the past two seasons, he has induced 33 double plays in 47 games.
For those who focus on a pitcher’s FIP, Stewart’s FIP doesn’t look great for a top prospect. Yet, there’s a lot to like. He’s is still young and should get a chance to pitch in Triple A this upcoming season.
A well-regarded baseball observer once said, “In an alternate universe, he’d (high school pitcher who opted for college) be getting drafted and playing in his first professional season this year.”
While this wasn’t directed at Stewart, it describes his current status. He very could have been drafted last year, playing in the Rookie League. The point being, it takes time to develop and even longer when drafted out of high school (like Stewart was).
That being said, he did finish his season well with the Chattanooga Lookouts after ascending to AA ball for the first time:
This season is an important one as it will determine whether Stewart is part of the Twins rebuild sooner rather than later.
Notes: Stewart is not listed among the non-roster invitees, nor is he on the 40-man roster. He’ll likely start the season with double-A Chattanooga. Fans could see him with the Twins as early as next season if can show that he can “miss bats.”